How to Design Any Lifestyle You Want

October 19, 2015 | No Comments » | Topics: Life

By Legendary-Peace

As a teenager, I had a couple frustrating summers. Without school and sports to give me a sense of structure, I had no idea what to do with myself. On the weekends I’d caddie at the local golf course for pocket money, but otherwise I pretty much sat around all day waiting to (maybe) hang out with my friends at night. 

By the time I was an upperclassmen in high school, I decided I needed to make a change. I distinctly remember thinking one afternoon in May, “O.K., summer is approaching, what are you going to do differently this time around?” This question gave me an unexpected sense of relief, and even excitement. I started imagining how I wanted to live, and at a deeper level how I wanted to feel, in the upcoming months. I didn’t know it at the time, but I I had stumbled upon the idea of conscious lifestyle design. Here is a guide that will help you begin to create a reality that is more in line with who you truly are. 

Step One: Reflect 

Before getting into the nuts-and-bolts of lifestyle design, it will be helpful to do a quick exercise. Quickly scan your body and mind. How do you feel right now? Is there anything weighing you down, or do you feel content? What words describe your ‘vibe’ right now? For example, when I’m happy, I usually feel a mixture of the following: 

-Flowing

-Spacious

-Fresh

-Clean

-Subtly excited

-Present

-Creative 
-Powerful

-Grateful 

-Abundant 

-Stable

-In tune

-Connected

Whereas when I’m unhappy, I feel: 

-Tight

-Confined

-Messy

-Poor

-Rebellious

-Confused

-Exhausted

-Resistant 

-Stuck in the past

-Stagnant 

-A sense of decay 

-Separation

Try to become more conscious of how you are feeling on a day-to-day basis. Get in the habit of constantly reflecting: what makes you feel good, and what makes you feel bad? Is your experience of life mainly on the positive or negative side of the list? During the summers I described above, I was about 80% on the negative side without even realizing it! 

Step Two: Take Responsibility 

This is the most difficult step. Most people are happy to talk about how overworked, stressed, and anxious they are, but are much less willing to take responsibility for creating those negative emotions in the first place. Taking responsibility can also, for lack of a better term, get weird. Like, why would any one try to be depressed or want to have an overbearing boss? We are used to thinking about these negative situations as things that just happen, and that we are relatively powerless to change. 

The truth, though, is that blaming others will always keep you stuck. When you really think about it, not taking full responsibility for your life is a bit irrational. You may hate your job, but didn’t you choose to work there in the first place? Don’t you also choose to go back every day? Your significant other may really piss you off, but who’s forcing you to date him/her? 

Once you get past the myriad of excuses that inevitably arise, you will start to realize that at the bottom of all your problems is…wait for it…you! Really, who else would be there? This is not to say that you have to walk around beating yourself up for every bad thing you’ve ever done. In fact,you’re allowed to have problems. What else are we here for, if not to learn and grow? 

Eventually, taking responsibility will actually give you a sense of relief, since it affirms that you are ultimately the one in charge, and have the capacity to fix any problems you create.

 



Step Three: Imagine a Better Way

Once you’ve begun to take responsibility for the negative energy in your life, it is time to get creative. Imagine what a more fulfilling lifestyle would feel like. If any of the old excuses pop up (“I can’t end this relationship; I’d be so lonely!” etc.), argue with them and remind yourself that youhave complete control over all aspects of your life.

What would a better lifestyle look, feel, and be like? If you get stuck, try this exercise: answer the following questions from the perspective of how your happier (or higher) self feels in each of these situations

You can add whatever situations you’d like. The main point of this exercise is to think about the different choices your happier and unhappier selves make in each situation, and how you feel as a result. I’ll use my adolescent summers as an example. During the bad summers, my answers would have been: 

When I decided to make a change, I was trying to avoid another summer filled with the types of negative experiences listed above. So, I went through each part of my day and imagined how I’d like to feel and what I’d like to do instead. I imagined how it would feel to have a good breakfast in the morning, and to enjoy being productive at work, and to wake up feeling rested. 

Step 4: Take Action 

Once you begin to imagine what a better lifestyle would look and feel like, you need to take action. This is another step people can stumble on, since taking action inevitably involves getting out of your comfort zone. 

However, it is vitally important to push past any action-related blocks you have, because action is the bridge between the mental and material worlds. Action takes the lifestyle you have consciously planned and thought about in your head, and then turns it into a physical reality (remember the age-old wisdom: “Thoughts become things.”

In my case, to improve my summers, I had to take some very concrete steps in the real world. I applied for a full-time job that would help keep me busy. I enrolled in a gym near my house and bought an alarm clock. I purposefully reached out to some friends that I had lost touch with. I went out of my way to plan some fun events I could add to my calendar. As a result, my reality started to shift to be in line with the way I had imagined it from the beginning. If I were to do the questions exercise again, my answers would have looked something like this: 

Conclusion 

Believe it or not, you can create any reality you imagine. All you have to do is reflect, take responsibility, imagine a better way, and then take action. All these steps do is help you tune into what is already available right in front of you. You don’t have to win the lottery or get a new car to be happier; you just have to get back in touch with your true self and start actively creating a lifestyle that you love again. 

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